DesignSpark Mechanical Power Hack

With a new version of DesignSpark Mechanical and its advanced features comes another power hack contest held at Google UK and addressing domestic electricity generation in conjunction with the non-profit Practical Action.  Rapid prototyping with a meaning!

RS Components and Allied Electronics are once again using their DesignSpark Mechanical platform’s new release features to create contests to address real world problems.  A December 9-10 power hack at Google UK offices in London has three teams of electronic and engineering designers using DeisgnSpark’s rapid prototyping features to design something to address domestic electricity generation for developing nations.  This effort is in partnership with Practical Action, which is a non-profit focusing on using technology to address global poverty.

The designs must be simple, cost effective, and easy to manufacture, but still have an impact for use in developing nations.  At the same time the designs need to be easily distributed, not require repairs often, be easily repaired, and be able to withstand differing environments.  The challenge has been presented and the DesignSpark family of tools including Mechanical, PCB, and Toolbox App are central to the design team efforts.  And they must be completed within the power hack time!

The event will include talented engineers and design people from the corporate world – only known to those that they work with, and also British television personalities that are bit more famous.  Some of the everyday work superstars participating include Jude Pullen from Design Modelling, Matt Johnson from Bare Conductive, and Adrian Bowyer of RepRapPro 3D Printing fame.  One of the more widely known participants for UK TV viewers in The Gadget Show co-host Ortis Deley.

DesignSpark Mechanical takes physical designs from the idea stage to realization and for some designs using 3D printers for rapid prototyping, an almost instant solution.

DesignSpark PCB is a tool for developing PCBs for electronic designs and using the electronic component resources of RS Components and Allied Electronics to quickly move from an idea stage with a schematic to a populated circuit board implementing your design.  

The Toolbox App provides a host of electronics reference aids and calculation tools that are available on the iOS and now Windows 8.1 devices with touch screens.  That means that you can do things like delta start calculations and constant current calculations on the go with your Wifi connected devices.

The Power Hack teams, Team Maxwell, Team Kilby, and Team Faraday have worked through their designs in the condensed two-day design cycle.  Our next post will review some of the designs and the contest action.